Our researcher Enrique Martínez-Galán has just published the chapter “Financing the protection of biodiversity: international governance as a mitigating factor of risks along the Belt and Road Initiative”, in the book In the Way of the Road: The ecological implications of infrastructure (Eds. Griffiths, RT & Hughes, AC), published by the International Institute for Asian Studies.
Awareness about biodiversity loss has been steadily increasing globally. However, both global governance on biodiversity and financing available for biodiversity conservation and preservation have not evolved in the same direction at the same pace. First, the global governance in biodiversity is approaching a key milestone in 2021, with the post-2020 reviewed and updated framework expected to be approved as the main outcome of the 15th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity during the second fortnight of May in Kunming. Second, biodiversity financing is almost negligible as per international standards and unable to fill in the financing needs. In this chapter, we will assess the structure of the international governance on biodiversity, paying particular attention to the main challenges in preparation of the post-2020 global diversity framework, as well as the main sources and tools filling in the observed financing gap in the region of Asia and the Pacific, particular those innovative that could enhance the financing available for biodiversity. We conclude that awareness and resources channeled domestically in the People’s Republic of China to biodiversity preservation have increased significantly in recent years. However, this trend has not been matched beyond the Chinese borders. Biodiversity ambition on BRI projects remains aspirational. Estimates show that only 27% of the BRI projects require any kind of mitigation on biodiversity and only 17% require ‘net gain’ in Critical Habitat. Out of the six major Chinese State-Owned Banks financing the BRI, only one has biodiversity safeguards, and these include just traditional biodiversity impact assessments. Consequently, co-financing of BRI projects by multilateral development banks presents a critical opportunity for critical transfers of best practices on biodiversity.